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Published:October 14th, 2006 20:20 EST
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Security Council Imposes Sanctions on North Korea

By SOP newswire

By Judy Aita
Washington File United Nations Correspondent

United Nations -- Calling North Korea's alleged nuclear test "a clear threat to international peace and security," the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to impose stringent, mandatory international sanctions on Pyongyang and demanded an end to nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches.

In the White House, President Bush praised the “clear message” sent by the world to the leader of North Korea. “This action by the United Nations, which was swift and tough, says that we are united in our determination to see to it that the Korea Peninsula is nuclear weapons free,” he said.

But the president reiterated: “There’s a better way for the people of North Korea. If the leader of North Korea were to verifiably end his weapons programs, the United States and other nations would be willing to help the nation recover economically.”

In New York, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said, "Today we are sending a strong and clear message to North Korea and other would-be proliferators that there will be serious repercussions in continuing to pursue weapons of mass destruction."

The ambassador hailed the unanimous agreement by the Security Council as "a significant step to deal with the North Korean nuclear problem."

The United States is "pleased that the Security Council is united in condemning the actions by the regime in Pyongyang and taking clear, firm, and punitive action in passing this resolution, thus proving to North Korea and others that the Security Council is prepared to meet threats to international security with swift resolve," Bolton said in remarks after the vote.

The vote came October 14 after six days of negotiations and the postponement of a morning vote to work out last minute technical difficulties. At the end of negotiations, Bolton, accompanied by Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya, told journalists of the final agreement and announced that all the 15 members of the Security Council were joining in sponsoring the resolution. (See related article.)

Wang called the resolution a "strong, forceful, appropriate response."

Bolton said that the final text was "entirely satisfactory to the United States" and "accomplishes all the major objectives we sought going into this drafting process."

Bolton noted that the council members had worked for six straight days to get agreement on the sanctions, meeting on Saturday to cast the official vote.  "We're here on a Saturday, six days after the North Korean nuclear test … because it's important for the council to respond just as swiftly as possible," he said.

STRINGENT ARMS SANCTIONS

The resolution bans trade with North Korea on all materials with direct or dual use applications for weapons of mass destruction (WMD); bans the sale or purchase of battle tanks, warships, armored combat aircraft, attack helicopters, missiles or missile systems.  It prohibits nations from using their territories or allowing their nationals to provide North Korea technical training, advice, services or assistance on weapons of mass destruction.  It also prohibits the sale of luxury goods to North Korea.

Nations are to cooperate with the sanctions by inspecting cargo to and from North Korea as necessary.

The resolution requires nations to freeze the funds, assets and economic resources of individuals or businesses -- which will be designated by the council's sanctions committee -- connected with North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs and impose a travel ban on individuals and their families connected with weapons of mass destruction programs.

Financial transactions and resources needed for food, rent or mortgages, medical supplies, insurance premiums and utility charges are exempted. 

Humanitarian goods and services are also exempted, Bolton said, because "the concern of the Security Council is with the regime in Pyongyang, not the starving and suffering people of North Korea."

The resolution was adopted under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which makes the sanctions mandatory, but contains a reference to Article 41, which permits only enforcement that does not involve the use of military force.

The resolution also calls upon North Korea "to return immediately to the Six-Party Talks without precondition."

Bolton pointed out that the resolution also targets other illicit activities of the regime and the way Kim Jong-Il finances WMD programs "through criminal activities such as money-laundering, counterfeiting and the selling of narcotics." 

The ambassador emphasized that North Korea’s full compliance with the resolution and the successful resumption of the Six-Party Talks will "lead to the council acting to lift the measures imposed," but should the regime "continue down its current path," it will face other "serious consequences."

DEFIANCE MUST BE MET WITH STRONG MEASURES

Japanese Ambassador Kenzo Oshima, president of the council, called the vote "one of the most important decisions this council has taken in recent times."

North Korea's action "has caused widespread and deep concern in East Asia and beyond," Oshima said.  The combination of the July ballistic missile tests and the current nuclear claims by a regime "with a long and proven record of reckless and irresponsible behavior is nothing less than a grave threat to international peace and security."

"It was essential that such an important decision be taken by a unanimous vote," Oshima said.  Pyongyang's "irresponsible act in total defiance of a call to refrain from nuclear tests by the entire world deserved to be met with not only strong admonishment but strong measures."

Accusing the Security Council of acting like "gangsters," North Korean Ambassador Pak Gil Yon "totally" rejected the resolution and walked out of the council's chamber as the South Korean envoy began to speak.

Recalling North Korea's quick rejection in July of a Security Council resolution demanding that Pyongyang end its ballistic missile program, Bolton pointed to North Korea's once again empty chair.  The envoy's action, he said, calls into question North Korea's membership in the United Nations.

Bolton also reassured America’s allies in the region that the United States is committed to their security.

"In response to North Korea's provocation we will seek to increase defense cooperation with our allies, including cooperation on ballistic missile defense to protect against North Korean aggression, and cooperation to prevent North Korea from importing or exporting nuclear or other missile technologies," the ambassador said.

For further information, see The U.S. and the Korean Peninsula.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)